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Activists Urge Action On Gun Control In Rally At Stratford's Soto School

Attendees at a gun control rally in Stratford on Tuesday. It was held in front of the Victoria Soto School. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, speaking at a rally in Stratford in favor of gun control. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STRATFORD, Conn. -- Advocates for gun control gathered Tuesday in front of a Stratford school named in honor of a teacher who was killed in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, held the rally as part of the Democrats' "National Days of Action" designed to urge Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan to hold a vote on gun control amendments.

The rally was held in front of the Victoria Soto School, which the Stratford resident who was one of six teachers killed with 20 students at the Sandy Hook School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012.

DeLauro said there are many ways to reduce gun violence, including tighter gun control and increased mental health services. She did use a jarring metaphor to make her point.

"No one is suggesting there is a silver bullet to all of the problems and complexity of this issue but we are saying that we have to take the steps," she said.

Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, said he was proud of last week's sit-in staged by House Democrats, including DeLauro, demanding a vote on several bills that Democrats say would help prevent gun violence. Ultimately, Ryan cut off debate. Pinciaro said gun control works and pointed to Connecticut's laws as an example.

"Connecticut has been leading the way on this issue," he said. "We have the second strongest gun laws in the nation, and we have the fourth lowest rates of gun deaths in the nation. That's not a coincidence. Smart gun laws work, smart gun laws save lives."

While the state has made strides, he said more needs to be done at the national level for gun control, including ensuring that people who are on the "no fly" list due to possible terrorism concerns should not be allowed to buy weapons. It's what the Democrats call "No fly, no buy."

"If you are too dangerous to be allowed to fly on a plane then you are certainly too dangerous to buy a gun," Pinciaro said.

Concerns have been raised by civil libertarians about the reach of the terror watch list and those who are put on the "no fly" list. The American Civil Liberties Union has strongly criticized the "no fly" list and said it is difficult for people to get off the list even if they are innocent of any terror links.

But DeLauro defended it and said there is a process for people to get off the list.

"There is a process and procedure of getting yourself off the list. If that needs to be revived in some way we need to do that," she said. "Let's take the information that we have which put someone on that list for some reason and let's take the precaution of not allowing that individual to have access to a weapon."

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